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By David Pan 

Wesco submits prep sports plan to WIAA

Seasons are contingent on county moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2


Last updated 1/14/2021 at 10:39am

With time starting to become more and more of a factor, Wesco athletic directors have gone ahead and developed their own prep sports plan, submitting it to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) for approval last week.

Wesco president and Shoreline School District athletic director Don Dalziel said that in December it became apparent to all that the league needed to come up with some options for the return of high school sports.

The proposed plan calls for three six-week seasons of fall, winter and spring sports, in that order. The tentative start date is Feb. 22, and is predicated on Snohomish County being in Phase 2 of the state’s new Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery guidelines Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week. All counties start out in Phase 1 of the new roadmap.

The Wesco plan was completed in mid-December and posted on the Wesco website Jan. 5, a day before the WIAA amended its season schedule by moving traditional fall sports up. The WIAA’s schedule has fall sports starting Feb. 1, with a decision on winter and spring sports to be determined later this month.

Dalziel said that the WIAA’s latest plans have no impact on Wesco's decision. The WIAA has granted each league or district around the state the ability to reschedule seasons to best fit their local communities.

The goal of Wesco’s proposal, Dalziel said, is to try to do something for everybody and to maximize the opportunities for all student-athletes. The plan does not include postseason games or events.

The situation remains fluid and changes are still possible. Wesco athletic directors are scheduled to meet this week.

A second option would have two seven-week seasons, which might force some athletes to make a choice on which sports to focus on. A worst-case scenario would have Wesco offering only spring sports and canceling fall and winter sports.

Under the plan, Wesco athletic directors would have three weeks before the start of each season to determine if COVID and school metrics would allow for sports to be played. A decision on fall sports, which would start Feb. 22 under the plan, would be made Feb. 1.

“Feb. 22 gives us a little more time,” Dalziel said. “It’s also the Monday after many schools’ mid-winter break. Feb. 22 gives us time to work with the communities and time to work with the district superintendents.”

Dalziel stressed that Wesco’s plan is dependent on meeting COVID-19 metrics. Since the plan was finalized, Dalziel said that a number of other leagues have reached out to Wesco for details.

It remains uncertain if Snohomish County will be eligible to move to Phase 2 by Feb. 1, the date WIAA has set for the start of fall/season 1 sports in its plan.

According to the Snohomish Health District, the Puget Sound region is meeting three of the four criteria and is not eligible to advance. The region needs to see a 10% or greater decrease in hospital admission rates per 100,000. The most recent figures from Dec. 20 to Jan. 1 saw a 1% percent in hospital admission rates across the region.

Here are the details of Wesco’s plan:

Seasons will be played in fall, spring, winter order.

Each season will be six weeks long (one week for practices, five weeks for competition)

Fall sports (football, boys tennis, cross country, girls soccer, girls swimming, volleyball):

Decision date: Feb. 1

First practice: Feb. 22

First competition week: March 1

Season end: April 3

Spring sports (baseball, softball, boys soccer, girls tennis, track and field, golf):

Decision date: March 8

First practice: March 29

First competition week: April 5

Season end: May 8

Winter sports (basketball, wrestling, boys swimming, bowling, gymnastics):

Decision date: April 5

First practice: April 26

First competition week: May 3

Season end: June 12

If individual fall sports need to be moved to alternate seasons, the following will take place:

Football - with winter sports

Girls soccer - with winter sports

Cross country - with winter sports

Boys tennis - with winter sports

Volleyball - with spring sports

Girls swim - with spring sports

If Wesco is unable to offer all of the fall sports in February, the league will condense to two seasons of seven weeks each (one practice, six competition) with the following dates.

Proposed 2 - season plan:

Spring sports plus volleyball and girls swim:

Decision date: Feb. 15

First practice: March 8

First competition week: March 15

Season end: April 24

Winter sports plus football, cross country, boys tennis, girls soccer:

Decision date: April 12

First practice: May 3

First competition week: May 10

Season end: June 12

Finally, if time gets squeezed and Wesco can only offer one season, it will cancel fall and winter sports and only offer spring sports. If it gets to that situation, the league will determine specific dates.

In the WIAA’s plan, season 1 will be seven weeks in length, beginning with practices on Feb. 1 and ending March 20. The sports scheduled for that season include cross country, football, girls soccer, and volleyball. The season also includes slowpitch softball and 1A/2B boys soccer. Districts also have the option to have golf and tennis. Wesco holds boys tennis in the fall, girls tennis in the spring, and both boys and girls golf in the spring. The WIAA plans to review winter and spring seasons during its Jan. 19 meeting.


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